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Regina Erickson with her son, Dylan, and SSgt. Chad J. Simon.
Regina Erickson with her son, Dylan, and SSgt. Chad J. Simon.

Fisher House to provide care and space for injured soldiers' families

On June 3, 2014 at 1 p.m., ground will break on a very special place for the families of our country’s injured soldiers. Fisher House of Wisconsin will be located on the VA Medical Center grounds and will provide a "home away from home" for family members while a soldier receives medical care. 

Fisher House Wisconsin has been in the works since 2006 and is slated to open in the summer 2015. 

A joint effort of public and private entities, there is a dire need for this organization in the Milwaukee area. Over 8,000 Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans travel to The Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center on an ongoing basis for treatment of their wounds and injuries.

Housing for loved ones while a wounded soldier is healing can be one of many logistical concerns, as well as a huge financial stress. The Fisher House removes this burden while providing a comfortable environment close to the where the injured soldier is being treated, so as to remove any excessive daily travel expenses as well.

Regina Erickson, a Milwaukee resident, stayed at Bethesda and Minneapolis / St.Paul Fisher Houses from November 2004 to March 2005 while her husband, SSgt. Chad Simon was being treated. She says the proximity of Fisher House to the hospital "was a godsend because I did not have my car there."

Fisher Houses provide a very unique level of emotional support to families, too. 

"Being able to stay in the houses provided a community that you could access at your level of interest or need," says Erickson. "I connected with a woman whose husband was fairly severely injured. She was close to my age, so we shared a couple of meals together and as fellow Marine wives, we were able to share some of our experiences."

Erickson feels the resources that were provided to her and her family by Fisher House were vital.

"We needed to be able to be with people who knew what we were going through," she says. "It is a great place to stay for comfort and being able to quickly get to other resourc…

Red in action.
Red in action. (Photo: Aaron "Red" Hoback and Andrew Emmick, CSCS)

Train like a prospective Milwaukee Brewer, part 1

NASHVILLE -- The crack of the bat. 

The impact of a pitch hitting the catcher’s mitt.

"Take me out to the ballgame …"

Those are the sounds of baseball.

So, it’s highly appropriate that "Music City" is home to The Nashville Sounds, the AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. AAA is the highest level of minor league baseball, the last rung before the Majors. Teams include players from young to veteran and in varying situations like working to go to "the Big Show" for the first time or coming back from an injury.

The Milwaukee Brewers Director of Medical Operations Roger Caplinger, ATC/L, generously gave me access to The Nashville Sounds training team so I could find out more about how The Nashville Sounds work out and train in preparation to become members of The Brewers.

This is the first in a two-part series that will give you access into how an athlete, like a prospective Milwaukee Brewer stays strong and healthy during a rigorous schedule that often demands just one day off per month.

I was lucky enough to witness the Sounds beat the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 2-1, and see, firsthand, the athleticism these guys display on their home turf at beautiful Greer Stadium. Brewers fans should make the trip south to see play at this venue before construction of their new stadium is complete. Once it is, that will warrant another Southern baseball adventure, as First Tennessee Park is slated to be complete by the start of next season.

I also got to see Aaron "Red" Hoback, Athletic Trainer for the Sounds in action, when a ground ball hit pitcher Brent Leach. It was amazing to see the orderly action/reaction when a player was in jeopardy. The main photo accompanying this piece is "Red" making sure Leach is OK to continue play. 

Below are "Five Questions with 'Red.'" He even gave me his prescription for the number one exercise readers can do to "stay in the game." I know I’ll be adding it to my workout regime! 

Look out for part two of this se…

Kenn Miller and some of the many students he inspired.
Kenn Miller and some of the many students he inspired. (Photo: Mike Petersen)

Nicolet's Miller moves on to life's next act

Theater achieves the ultimate ruse.

The art form uses scripted words to tell a story, facades to suggest location and costumes to transform actors into characters; all of which conspire to take the audience member to another time and place, to experience something outside of the banal. It’s a deception that culminates with applause.

It takes a team to accomplish this charade and at the top of it all is a master illusionist, the director.  

Since 1982, Kenn Miller has dazzled audiences as head of the Nicolet Theater Department. He has acted not only as director of multiple yearly productions, but also as educator, faculty member, mentor, friend and "father figure" to the family of thespians he has nurtured.

Seeing as theater is his trade, Miller was a hard guy to pull one over on. He’s the king of orchestrating every detail, so when the Nicolet High School Administration and Performing Arts Committee plotted to surprise Miller with a tribute to honor his retirement following the curtain call of his final staging of a "Midsummer Night’s Dream" on Saturday, May 10, the challenge was steep. 

Keeping the surprise under wraps became a whole other "production" since it was to include a ceremony, a scrapbook (put together by current student Sarah Rosenthal), a video (edited by former student Maury Loeb) and the announcement of the Kenn Miller Performing Arts Chair, a program that will bring guest artists in to do "Master Classes" intended to give students "real world" understanding of  working in the performing arts.

Planning was top secret and according to Ferne Hecker, assistant to Dr. Robert Kobylski, Superintendent of the Nicolet UHS District, there was much comedy involved in keeping the lid on the surprise.

Miller, who is notorious for staying out of the spotlight, is so deeply involved in every aspect of a production’s details that much effort had to be made to prevent him from discovering the big reveal.

She said, "Some of the things (that went…

The itsy is a little too bitsy for Lindsay.
The itsy is a little too bitsy for Lindsay.

Does the Itsy belong on you?

The appearance of the Victoria’s Secret catalog in my physical mailbox brings up a bevy of thought bubbles in my all too chattery mind.

"What a waste of paper! I already get all the emails!"

"Resist the temptation to use the coupon!"


But, the back cover of the "Bring on Summer – Swim 2014" edition brought on a whole new inner dialog.

A lovely, blond model, her front side facing the serene ocean so as to give us a good look at her backside, gazes over her shoulder, eyes in the signature VS come–hither stare, lips seductively parted, beachy-hair spilling over her shoulders. She is clad in a salmony-peach lace midriff top and the tiniest slip of an aqua bathing suit bottom. The image is captioned with, "This bikini bottom right here? It’s called the Itsy and it belongs on you." 

Um. I don’t think so. NOT. ON. ME.

The "Itsy" is Victoria’s Secret’s latest effort to clad the masses in sexy this and sexier that. It is essentially a "Brazilian" bikini bottom, in the thong style – meaning that about half- to three-quarters (depending on the size of your rump, I suppose) of the underside coverage is missing. The fabric travels into the nethers of the "cheeks" and is accented by strategically placed ruching to accentuate curves.

Although I have seen this style displayed on the beaches of Maui the past couple of years, there is something about the prospect of seeing this at Bradford Beach that makes my own lips curl into an Elvis-like snarl. 

On a personal level – although I wish I had the parts and confidence to pull it off, I know that this would not be my most flattering choice in swimwear. Until there is a way to airbrush my fanny in real life (or it miraculously decides to lift and plump itself into CoCo Austin territory) I will choose a bit more coverage. 

And although functional (these suckers actually do stay put during athletic endeavors such as surfing and swimming hence the toned, tanned Chaka-broads rocking these on the island…